Travelling across Canada and the USA to compete in ATV competitions is the dream of any avid ATVer. For Justin Critch and Aynsley Wendt, racing through the mud in a different location every weekend is a way of life. Because of their dedication to this lifestyle, the couple came up with their own race team called TNN Racing, which has eight members in total.
“We wanted to not only race, but bring people together that love the mud just as much as we do and have a mud family too,” Wendt said. “What’s better than racing with friends that we consider family?”
Justin Critch and Aynsley Wendt are the husband-and-wife team that leads TNN Racing. — Photo courtesy Shaylene Hawthorn
As for the group’s name, the acronym TNN stands for Team Not Normal. It’s something to help define the unique team that’s just a little different, sort of like them.
As a heavy equipment operator, Critch is known as the Can-Am guru because of his astounding ability to build and fix motors, including Nightmare, a 2008 Can-Am Renegade 940 BBK with nitrous that Critch built himself. Critch initially got into ATVs simply to ride the trails around Portage la Prairie. Some friends suggested he try racing around Manitoba, which quickly turned into an addiction to the sport that could only be satisfied by travelling across Canada and the USA.
After touring with her husband and seeing how much he enjoyed racing, Wendt decided to give racing a go. She was enamoured in an instant. “Seeing his passion made me want to try it and, as expected, I am hooked as well,” Wendt said. “It is such an adrenalin rush to line up and wait for that tiny green light—I love it! It's like your heart stops for that tiny second and then full throttle to the finish line.”
Justin Critch and Aynsley Wendt have an impressive selection of hardware. — Photo courtesy Aynsley Wendt
Critch and Wendt have splashed through mud all over Western Canada and beyond. Here are some of their favourite races to compete in.
Canadian Championship Mud Racing
2017 marked the inaugural year of Canadian Championship Mud Racing (CCMR). Critch chased points and got third overall for the CCMR season. Wendt raced at two of the CCMR races, bringing home a third both times.
Pilot Mound is a town in Manitoba that puts on a race every summer. The Open class and Women’s class races are in a winner-take-all format. Critch and Wendt claimed the top spots in both categories, making them the king and queen of the pit, taking home a trophy and cash.
St. Jean ATV Derby’s Friday Night Lights
St. Jean is a town in Manitoba that puts on a derby ride every September. The annual St. Jean Derby hosts Friday Night Lights where ATVers race at night under big lights. Critch and Wendt secured silvers at the competition.
Midwest Championship Mud Racing
Critch and Wendt decided to head south of the border to check out Midwest Championship Mud Racing (MCMR) in Fairchild, Wisconsin. Critch got third in Pro A and Wendt got second in Pro B.
“The drive was long but well worth it,” Wendt said. “We will go to all that we can this summer.”
Quadna Mud Nationals
The Quadna Mud Nationals in Hill City, Minnesota, was another successful trek to the States for Critch and Wendt. Critch scored a bronze in Pro A while Wendt won gold in the Women’s race.
“This was our first time at the event and it was amazing,” said Wendt. “Lots of vendors to shop from—they gave away amazing promotional products, plenty of trails to ride on, a mud hole to have fun in and, of course, the racing to compete in.”
Take the plunge (into the mud)
If you’ve ever wanted to take part in a variety of mud races throughout Western Canada and the USA, follow Critch and Wendt’s example. It’s an achievable goal and, most of all, it’s fun.
Don’t wait for next year. Find a racing series near you and dive in. — Photo courtesy Aynsley Wendt
“These events bring out the same kind of people who don't mind getting dirty, riding, racing and sitting around the campfire,” said Wendt. “We laugh, race, relax and make great memories. We all have the same passion and lean on each other to fulfill it. That’s what it’s all about.”
On our Rad Radar
Rad rider: Justin Critch
Where: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Occupation: Heavy equipment operator at Gerrard Metals
Weapon of choice: Nightmare: a custom-built 2008 Can-Am Renegade 940 BBK with nitrous
Rad rider: Aynsley Wendt
Where: Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
Occupation: Medical laboratory assistant at the local hospital
Weapon of choice: Tantrum: a 2017 Can-Am Outlander Max 1000 XMR